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Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Gaming Urban Legends

Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Gaming Urban Legends

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at some basketball gaming urban legends.

Given the amount of secret content that’s been packed into video games over the years, it’s no surprise that there are more than a couple of urban legends across all genres. TV Tropes creatively titles the phenomenon “Urban Legend of Zelda“, which is extremely apt considering how many examples the Legend of Zelda series itself provides. Basketball games have had their fair share of urban legends, perpetuated through a combination of schoolyard (and later, internet) chatter, misunderstandings, and the occasional trolling hoax.

There have been some interesting urban legends associated with the virtual hardwood, concerning both sim and arcade games. In some cases, you can see how gamers came to believe them, especially before the ins and outs of player likenesses were widely known. I’m sure you’ve heard some of these before, but it never hurts to debunk urban legends, and tell the real story if there is one. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Playing An Older Game Second

Wayback Wednesday: Playing An Older Game Second

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at the phenomenon of playing an older basketball game after its direct sequel, or one of its later successors.

Basketball video games have been around for decades now, with NBA Basketball – the very first NBA-licensed title – coming out in 1980. Furthermore, there’s been at least one annual release every year for at least a quarter of a century and counting. Every single game, good or bad, has been somebody’s first title and introduction to basketball gaming. In short, most people who are playing basketball games in 2022 haven’t been doing so since the beginning. That goes for me, too. Many gamers have hit the virtual hardwood long before I ever did in the mid 90s.

When you get into an established series, there’s a curiosity about what came before. This doesn’t just apply to video games, of course. If you catch an episode of a TV show that’s a few seasons in, or perhaps see a movie that’s part of a series or cinematic universe, you may be inclined to go back to the beginning. In basketball itself, there’s a desire to learn the history of the sport, the NBA, and other leagues…or at least, there used to be. The nature of video games makes going back to an older title after playing a newer game rather interesting, and it’s a phenomenon that I’ve experienced as both a younger and older basketball gamer. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 7)

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at another ten players that became familiar faces back in familiar places.

We’ve reached the seventh and (for the moment) final instalment of the Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places series! As a spinoff of the Familiar Faces in Strange Places series of articles, I wanted to match its seven instalments and 70 examples of players with interesting stints. One of the reasons I love compiling these lists is that these stints – both the ones in strange places and back in familiar places – are often forgotten. Of course, sometimes we’d prefer that, as the players were shells of their former selves by that point!

Once again, I’ll note that I’m looking at these examples through the lens of basketball video games. As I’ve explained before, I do this because it fits in with our content as a site about basketball gaming, and because revisiting old games is one way that we’re reminded of the stints that we’ve forgotten. It also makes things more challenging as I’m trying to seek out the most interesting stories, and limit examples to ones that can be found in official rosters. To that point, there are fewer stars in this instalment, but certainly some noteworthy NBA player trivia. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Why Being On Fire Was So Cool in NBA Jam

Wayback Wednesday: Why Being On Fire Was So Cool in NBA Jam

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at being On Fire in the NBA Jam series, and analysing why it’s such a great video game powerup.

“He’s On Fire!” The iconic call from the legendary Tim Kitzrow echoes in the minds of all basketball gamers who’ve played NBA Jam. In fact, thanks to the game having such an impact on basketball and pop culture, people who have never played a single NBA Jam title are undoubtedly still aware of it! Being On Fire in an NBA Jam game is to arcade basketball gaming what Mario’s super mushrooms are to platformers. It’s not just a core aspect of the series’ identity, but something that its imitators have tried to replicate and put their own spin on, to varying degrees of success.

I’ve discussed the NBA Jam series several times in Wayback Wednesday features. This includes retrospectives of the original game, Tournament Edition (twice, in fact), and the overlooked 2003 release from Acclaim. I’ve investigated its unusual ratings, and reflected on other notable facts about various games in the NBA Jam lineage. However, apart from obligatory mentions when covering gameplay mechanics in my retrospectives, I’ve yet to dedicate an entire feature to being On Fire in NBA Jam. If I can talk about Kevin Edwards having the wrong portrait, I should definitely cover the game’s iconic powerup in-depth! To that end, let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Frustrating Restrictions in Basketball Games

The Friday Five: 5 Frustrating Restrictions in Basketball Games

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five frustrating restrictions that we’ve encountered in various basketball video games.

There are obviously going to be restrictions in basketball video games, some of which we’ll find frustrating. In some cases, those restrictions are due to technical limitations. Others are design choices, and those are the ones that we find more bothersome, as we know it didn’t necessarily have to be that way. In all fairness though, these restrictions can sometimes be for the best. If not for some of them, games would be unbalanced and far less enjoyable. When cleverly implemented, restrictions can prevent exploits and ensure that games are challenging, without ruining the fun.

Striving for realism in sim games also results in restrictions that can be frustrating, but ultimately in an enjoyable way, since they reflect obstacles that teams and players do actually face in real life. To that point though, we’re bound to grumble when we’re restricted in a way that doesn’t accurately represent an NBA rule. As for frustrating restrictions that are simply design choices, there have been some over the years that just haven’t been good ideas. Alternatively, they’re good and sensible ideas in theory, but were poorly executed. Some of those restrictions are recent or rare, but others are recurring issues that we’ve been encountering in basketball games for generations.

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Monday Tip-Off: Born To Be A Retro Gamer

Monday Tip-Off: Born To Be A Retro Gamer

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off by reflecting on how my earliest experiences with video games made it far more likely that I’d become a retro gamer.

Outside of firing up NBA 2K22 to get screenshots or investigate its latest updates, I haven’t played the game for months. Not on PC, not on PlayStation 4, and not on PlayStation 5. I don’t feel compelled to grind and level up a player in MyCAREER, or to jump into The Rec. There are aspects of MyTEAM that I like, but I don’t fancy putting in the time to collect cards that I won’t be able to use come NBA 2K23. I’d start a MyLEAGUE or MyNBA with the Chicago Bulls, but honestly, I don’t enjoy the gameplay enough in either version of NBA 2K22 to do so.

Instead, I’ve been spending my time playing through multiple seasons in NBA 2K14’s MyCAREER. I’ve revisited other standout games from yesteryear, such as NBA Live 10 and NBA Live 06. Quite simply, I’ve found far more enjoyment and satisfaction in doing that than trying to find a way to have fun with NBA 2K22. It’s not that I refuse to play new games, or that I haven’t enjoyed more recent releases. I also don’t believe that older games were, without exception, all flawless masterpieces; they weren’t. I do find it easy to go back to old favourites however, as well as give other retro titles a second look. When I think back, I may have always been destined to be a retro gamer.

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NLSC Podcast #421: Arcade Basketball Games Are On Fire!

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #421 of the NLSC Podcast!

We love sim basketball titles, but we also have a great deal of affection for arcade games as well. Recent sessions with the underrated NBA Hangtime, and a brief stream of NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, lead us to reflect on some of the best and worst releases in the genre. As always, we also catch up on other games we’ve been playing over the past week, including NBA 2K22, NBA Showdown, and NBA 2K14. One of us has also added a true gem to their collection, leaving the other to feel a tad envious! In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking about our go-to plays in various basketball video games, and one-off hoops titles that deserved a sequel (or possibly even a series).

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

NLSC Podcast #420: The Legend of Keyon Dooling

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #420 of the NLSC Podcast!

Inspired by QB1120’s stories of Keyon Dooling in NBA 2K7, we fired up the game to see what the fuss was all about. Turns out, we have a newly-minted Video Game Legend! We also connected with Brent and NBA Live Girl for a 4-player session of NBA Jam: On Fire Edition that none of us wanted to end. After recapping some other recent adventures on the virtual hardwood, we talk about the reason we’re able to play so many basketball video games: our passion for collecting. We open up the mailbag to talk about the games that our listeners wish that they owned, as well as some of the purchases that they regret.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: March 26th, 2022

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

The drama of our College Hoops 2K8 Tournament continues to produce many memorable moments, some of which are included in this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays. NBA Jam Tournament Edition for PC also makes an appearance, courtesy of Larry Bird‘s cool, calm, and collected play in the clutch. Elsewhere, NBA 2K22 has been in many basketball gamers’ rotations this week, delivering some devastating dunks and showing off some impressive mods. Spectacular plays from NBA Street Vol. 2, NBA 2K17, and NBA Live 2001 round out another fun countdown of virtual hardwood highlights.

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

Wayback Wednesday: Attract Mode & The Secrets of NBA Jam TE

Wayback Wednesday: Attract Mode & The Secrets of NBA Jam TE

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at the secrets in NBA Jam TE that were actually revealed by the attract mode screens.

If you’ve never known a time before YouTube, social media, and readily accessible information on just about anything you can name, it may be difficult to imagine not having detailed knowledge of a game’s secrets. That’s how it used to be, though. We had to buy (or photocopy!) official hint books and strategy guides, or consult game magazines for tips and cheat codes. Some secrets went undiscovered for years, or gave rise to urban legends. Discussion was limited to your circle of friends, which meant information travelled slower than it can nowadays.

To that point, there are details about some of my favourite video games – basketball and otherwise – that I didn’t know until I finally got online in the late 90s. Of course, when it comes to some games, there are details that I could’ve and should’ve known, but remained ignorant of because I was young and impatient, and thus not properly observant. These include a few secrets in NBA Jam TE on PC, which is one of my all-time favourite basketball games. I don’t know how I missed this information the first time around, and you’ll probably wonder too as we take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #417: Picking an All-Virtual Hardwood Team

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #417 of the NLSC Podcast!

Our College Hoops 2K8 Tournament is set to tip off! Talking about college basketball games leads us to ponder whether EA Sports’ best move would be to revive their NCAA series before they attempt another comeback with NBA Live. We also reflect on the madness of collecting retro basketball games, the size of our respective collections, and the current prices in retro video game stores and on eBay alike. We’re also interested in spending more time with a cancelled Sega Genesis game starring Shaquille O’Neal that was leaked a few years back. This week’s mailbag topic is all about picking our All-Virtual Hardwood teams. We share our selections, along with the community’s picks.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

NLSC Podcast #416: Three Games & An Island

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #416 of the NLSC Podcast!

In an exciting development, NBA Live 2001 enthusiasts Nate and Roger are on Parsec, which means a 2v2 showdown is in our future! Speaking of Parsec, our recent sessions have given us a new appreciation for a couple of often-criticised games in the NBA Live series. Our NBA Jam: On Fire Edition Tournament also wrapped up, and it ended in spectacular fashion. Dipping into our collection as we often do leaves us wondering: which three games would we take with us to an island we’d be stuck on indefinitely? We share our answers, and open up the mailbag to see which games the community would pick. With February drawing to a close, we also look ahead to March Modness.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

Wayback Wednesday: Our First Virtual Championship

Wayback Wednesday: Our First Virtual Championship

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m discussing an achievement that I’m sure is very nostalgic for many basketball gamers: our first virtual championship.

Achieving closure in basketball video games, and most sports titles for that matter, is different to other genres. After all, they can be played in many ways, not all of which have a predefined completion condition. In contrast, games with a storyline or final level/mission/quest can be played through and clearly beaten. Whether they’re linear or non-linear, there’s an end point where the story is over and the final main objective has been completed. There’s less ambiguity as to whether or not you’ve finished such a game, and to that point, gained a sense of completion and closure with it.

NBA games, especially the sim titles, technically do have an ultimate goal of winning a championship in season, franchise, and career modes. However, they can also be enjoyed without ever completing a campaign. You may just play with and against friends in exhibition games, or tournaments that you organise. There are the online team play modes, with no schedule or structure. You can have countless hours of fun on the virtual hardwood without ever vying for an NBA championship. There is something special about getting a ring in video games though, especially hoisting the virtual Larry O’Brien trophy for the first time. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #408: The Worst Basketball Video Game Ever

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #408 of the NLSC Podcast!

The NLSC NBA Live 10 Tournament has drawn to a close, and we must say, it was a success! We’re looking forward to future tournaments with games such as NBA Jam and NCAA Basketball 09. However, one game that we definitely won’t be using is Kidz Sports Basketball. After playing it together, we’re inclined to call it the worst basketball game ever made. Thankfully, we’ve also played some much better games as of late, including NBA 2K13, NBA in the Zone, and Basketball Classics. There’s also some modding news to recap, and a few teasers of our own to drop! In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking about fighting with friends and family over disagreements on the virtual hardwood.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

Wayback Wednesday: The Replacements

Wayback Wednesday: The Replacements

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the players that served as replacements for missing stars.

“Hold on a moment”, I hear you say. “Didn’t you already cover Roster Players in a previous Wayback Wednesday feature?” I did indeed, and I do also link back to that article whenever I mention them! However, I’m not actually focusing on those old roster players today, except to note that yes, they did serve as the replacements for a handful of real players that couldn’t be licensed back in the 90s. Not every game made use of placeholders to fill in for absent stars, however. So, what did they do when they couldn’t include the likes of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal?

Enter the replacements: other players on the team that were promoted to the starting lineup in order to fill the void. This produced some interesting results, such as career bench players getting the starting nod, and the occasional player being slotted in at a position they rarely played. It also resulted in other players taking on the role of the team’s de facto star. It’s not something we need to worry about these days, but back in the 90s, it was a recurring phenomenon. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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